by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 ESV
Life is full of hard times. Some trials are the natural course of years on a fallen planet. But there are other tribulations – times that feel specific, targeted, relentless, and cruel.
It’s the moment you hear the news and life goes on spin cycle. The moment the waiting room becomes a war room. The moment that every minute on your knees feels like a version of boot camp – preparation for this specific battle.
It comes out of nowhere, but when you exhale and reflect, it makes sense why now, why you, why your loved one has come under fire. And you feel very still, calling on training you had no idea was for this; but now, you know.
Someone dares say it aloud. “Could it be?” they ask, worried you’ll think they’re one of those weird, mystical believers.
“Warfare, you mean?” you answer, as confident now as a soldier on his third tour of duty. Oh, yeah, you nod, it’s warfare.
But with this soul-sight you suddenly realize you have, those words seem like a simple observation – not insight, not a mysterious message, just an obvious acknowledgement that this is an enemy assault, a smart bomb with your name on it. Naming it spiritual warfare doesn’t end it, but it does empower you to wage a defensive assault.
First, you call for a shield wall. Everyone you know who has ever bent their knee, called to bend it now on your behalf. And there is no shame in wanting a large force of well-trained warriors at your side.
Then, you take stock. Confess. Repent. Re-commitment. James 4 all the way. Resist the evil one. Draw near to God. Call on the name of Jesus. And suddenly you know how Joshua felt standing with his toes on the border to the Promised Land, staring down giants.
Like him, you slide your helmet onto your head, slip the King’s breastplate over your breakable sternum – barely covering your racing heart. You encircle yourself with the belt of truth – knowing you want nothing to do with lies – knowing deception is the mustard gas of the enemy.
And you step into shoes fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace, hoping that anyone watching from the sidelines will see you fight and know you serve the Most High King, worthy of any sacrifice you may make on this field.
Curling your fingers round the hilt of the sword of the Word of the Spirit of God, you pray your shield of faith has been modernized, so it resembles the coverage power of the Starship Enterprise. So, it can encircle all those you love to withstand the fiery, hot breath of an ancient dragon refitted now with chemicals and laser beams.
You look the enemy in the eye and everything else goes strangely silent except the sound of your own breathing, barely breathing, and the pounding of your heart like a raging waterfall, fueled by the melting snows in the mountains of your worst imaginations, as you await the voice of your Commanding Officer.
Disaster has come to your tent, but you are not a victim. You are a warrior. And while all is fair in love and war; war will have its end. Love will stretch into eternity and take you home on eagles’ wings.
The dragon is already defeated, and you are already a conqueror, safe in the heart of your Father- King. You are His favored child, and Joshua sits beside Him, calling you out onto the field.
Advance. Advance. Advance.
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
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